Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Trouble Sleeping? Try My 3 Easy Tips.

Hi there, Sleepless in...(where ever you are)
One of the recurring topics of my workdays is bad nights. People don't get the kind of sleep they would like, they don't get enough sleep, they wake up feeling almost as tired (if not more tired) as when they went to bed.

I am one of those people that has always had trouble falling asleep. I remember roaming my room as a child, and hearing my parents go to bed. It's not that I wasn't tired, I was. It was more that I couldn't seem to turn off the thoughts running through my head.
Now, as an adult fast approaching sixty (Frith! How did that happen?) and far too busy at work, my head is so chock-a-block-full of thoughts and worries that it is an effort to stop the merry-go-round in my brain.

Since I am against sleeping medication (I've seen too many people dependent on that stuff) I've had to experiment with natural remedies. 
Alcohol does not work for me. It simply wakes me up. Not a good idea when you want to go to sleep. Sleepy Time Tea: it tastes of grass (the green stuff cows eat) and does not make me sleepy.
Massages: nope. They wake me up. Hot showers - ditto. Sex: pffffffffft.

Right. I promised you three things that DO work though.
At least, they work for me, and perhaps they'll work for you too.

1. Make sure you unwind on time before you attempt to sleep, and try to go to bed at the same time every evening.

So turn off that TV or switch off your laptop, tablet, iPad, mobile at least 30 minutes before you close your eyes. No reading either!! You need to condition your brain; it's time to sleep!

2. When you actually go to bed, make it into a ritual (again, to help your brain to realize it is time to stop running around like a troupe of crazy apes).

Mine is: open the balcony door a crack to let the fresh air in, light some Japanese incense (I never said I am a logical person), set my alarm, prepare my docking station (more about this in #3)turn off the light.

Then: relax your body, starting with your toes. Visualize them getting heavy and sinking into your mattress as if you are lying on a warm sandy beach, and work you way up along your body until you've reached your head. Try to focus on your body and whenever some random thought pops into your head (like: how on earth do I pay this month's sewage bill?), push it away again and watch it float into outer space, or down into the muck, where ever, as long as it doesn't get your attention. This does take some practice, but I promise it becomes easier when you do it more often. On a good night I can actually feel my heart rate slowing down.

3. Put on a CD that is sure to put you to sleep. (AHA! I can see you getting either frustrated or exasperated, or downright angry now. But give me a chance to explain)

This, again, takes some time. But by careful deduction, and trial and error (No, Talking Heads do not work for me!), you will be able to find a track that calms you down. 
Now, concentrate on the music. No thinking!!! Just concentrate 100% and let the music take you away.
Have you ever heard of Ane Brun? She's from Norway, and weird and wonderful. Her song 'Worship' is sure to put me to sleep within minutes. I love that song, but I hardly ever get to hear it beyond the first couplet. 

It must be the heartbeat-like rhythm. Almost like being in the womb.

Anyway. It beats pills. And no side-effects!

Sleep well!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Counting Down Towards Christmas Are You? 4 Musical Suggestions.

Hiya! Nice of you to drop in again.
It is December 1st, and in my neck of the woods that means the final countdown towards the Christmas holidays for people like me who work in education, and also for most people who are looking forward to a couple of days off.

Now, I've never made it a secret that I am a humanist with Pagan and Buddhist tendencies. But that doesn't mean that we ignore Christmas in our house. On the contrary! We like the tree, and the trimmings, and some of the music, and the good company, and especially the spirit.
What could be better than joy to the world and peace to all mankind? Or the other way around?
To help you get into the mood as well (early), I'll link you to some of my favorite Christmas-time music.

I've loved Kate Bush from the first notes of Wuthering Heights, and like this wintry song a lot. The artwork is from the film 'The Snowman' - also one of my favourites.

Trust Loreena to make good use of this traditional Christmas carol. Even when as a child I didn't quite understand all the lyrics, I did understand the line 'let nothing you dismay' (because I looked it up), and it spoke to me.

Okay, okay, okay, so call me corny. I love this song!

This is a curious rendition alright! But give it a try, do. I've picked it because as a child I used to sing this with my step-father, and he would have had a fit if he could hear this Siouxie version. Which is precisely why I've chosen it for you today.

So, what is YOUR december music?

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Rotterdam Like You've Never Seen It Before! Beautiful!

Hi there!
Not a musical post as such (although the piano sounds fine), but one about the city where I was born and where I travel to to go to work.
I came across this by accident, idly surfing, and want to share it with you all, as it is
It was produced by Eric van Vuuren, and I hope he will not be cross with me for sharing it with you. But as he's posted it on FB originally I am fairly confident it will be okay.
Here it is.